AHRI
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
NEWS  |  General, Research

A Crime to be Gay in Majority of Commonwealth – Study


Tuesday, 22nd July 2014 at 3:10 pm
Staff Reporter
As the Commonwealth Games get under way in Glasgow, new research highlights that the modern Commonwealth of Nations is home to some of the most homophobic countries in the world.

Tuesday, 22nd July 2014
at 3:10 pm
Staff Reporter


0 Comments


FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

 Print
A Crime to be Gay in Majority of Commonwealth – Study
Tuesday, 22nd July 2014 at 3:10 pm

As the Commonwealth Games get under way in Glasgow, new research highlights that the modern Commonwealth of Nations is home to some of the most homophobic countries in the world.

Of the 80 countries, which still criminalise homosexuality; more than half belong to the Commonwealth, with the geographical spread including Africa, The Americas, Asia and the Pacific.

Monash University research published this week in The Alternative Law Journal, says that 42 of the 53 countries that make up the Commonwealth continue to criminalise homosexuality, and these laws pose a serious threat to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community.

Lead researcher Dr Paula Gerber, from the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, said it was clear that in many Commonwealth countries, particularly Africa, the criminalisation of homosexuality posed a serious danger to sexual minorities, especially gay men.

“Laws in many Commonwealth countries violate the basic human rights of the LGBTI community and in areas such as Asia and The Americas, the situation is only getting worse,” Dr Gerber said.

“Jamaica treats homosexuality in the same way as bestiality, Brunei has recently introduced death by stoning, and the Supreme Court in India has re-criminalised homosexuality.”

Across the nations in the Commonwealth, 89 per cent of African countries criminalise homosexuality; in Asia the figure is 100 per cent, with the Americas at 85 per cent and the Pacific 64 per cent.

However the research says there are some Commonwealth countries in these regions, such as Bahamas, that have decriminalised homosexuality as a way of combating HIV/AIDS and also out of fear of losing the foreign aid they receive.

Dr Gerber said that with all Asian Commonwealth countries still criminalising homosexuality, the situation in our region was dire.

“A recent survey found that 85 per cent of people in Pakistan and 88 per cent in Malaysia believe homosexuality is unacceptable.

“The criminalisation of homosexuality in these countries stems from old colonial laws, but today homophobia tends to come from religion; Malaysia with its Islamic beliefs and Sri Lanka with a majority Buddhist population,” Dr Gerber said.

The Commonwealth of Nations adopted a new charter in 2013 in the hope of modernising the organisation. It states that today the Commonwealth represents a gathering of like-minded countries with ‘shared values and principles of concern for the vulnerable’, yet a prohibition on discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity was omitted.

Dr Gerber said the failure of the Commonwealth of Nations to address LGBTI rights is significant.

“This omission from a modern charter is incredibly striking, one that doesn’t reflect the contemporary understanding of prohibited grounds of discrimination. The supposed respect for human rights in the charter flies in the face of the treatment of the LGBTI community,” Dr Gerber said.

“But there are things that can be done to try and change this. The United Nations can play a crucial role in achieving reform through constructive dialogue with states, and civil society by engaging influential states that are resisting reform.”

Dr Gerber believes that by concentrating efforts in these areas, law reform for the LGBTI community could be possible.

“There is no hope of achieving respect and equality for LGBTI people while they are still treated as criminals. The priority must be repealing these odious laws. Then we can look at achieving equal rights through anti-discrimination laws and policies, and widespread human rights education programs that address diversity in sexuality and gender identity and expression,” Dr Gerber said.




Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers?

Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au


Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

The Tragedy of Improving Educational Outcomes for Children with Disability

Julie Phillips

Monday, 9th July 2018 at 5:26 pm

One Woman’s Journey of Philanthropy

Wendy Williams

Tuesday, 27th March 2018 at 8:30 am

Aged Care for Transgender and Intersex Australians Lags Behind

Luke Michael

Tuesday, 28th November 2017 at 4:11 pm

LGBTQ Philanthropy is Growing Yet Under Attack

Wendy Williams

Thursday, 23rd November 2017 at 8:39 am

POPULAR

Man Battling Cancer and Centrelink Raises Social Media Storm

Paul Carter

Tuesday, 10th July 2018 at 12:42 pm

Shorten and Abbott Defend Catholics Against ACNC Probe

Luke Michael

Monday, 16th July 2018 at 4:25 pm

New Research Looks to Improve Disability Employment Rate

Luke Michael

Monday, 9th July 2018 at 2:35 pm

Study Suggests Cooperatives Could Hold Key to Fixing Housing Crisis

Luke Michael

Wednesday, 11th July 2018 at 3:08 pm

AHRI
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Get the social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!